By Fernando Brierley
WE are here to CONNECT to others. Looking at the signs of disconnection made us think on doing something. Inspira Chile wants to make a difference by spreading KINDNESS, ACCEPTANCE, and TRUST.
Human disconnection is all around. Each day vague interactions are more common: Hi, how are you? Good and you? Good. Good. People not empathizing with a crying boy in the Metro that had just been robbed… Friends that hang out “together” and cannot let go of their smartphones.
On our experience if there is a reason why we are here is to connect to others. When we talk about values that make a difference we believe that kindness, acceptance and trust are the key to a more human society. Those were the founding values of Inspira Chile Foundation, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging young Chileans to genuinely connect to others.
The journey begins
Six years ago, my husband (Sebastian Balmaceda) and my sister (Javiera Brierley) decided that we wanted to take action and create a foundation. We didn’t know how to start or what to do, but we were convinced that we wouldn’t be the only ones that would join this movement. We decided that we would have three lines of action: Socio-emotional skill development workshops, massive urban interventions, and online campaigns to create awareness.
Organizing the ideas
We started working on a global project for World Kindness Day 2012 in partnership with LVI (Life Vest Inside, USA NGO dedicated to spreading kindness). We decided to do a worldwide flashmob that was called “Dance for Kindness”. For those that don’t know a flashmob is a type of urban massive intervention where one person starts dancing in a public place and then out of nowhere a lot of other people join the dance.
Action with a clear Purpose
We begun contacting several dance studios in Santiago, Chile and telling them about the initiative. In a matter of days we had more than ten studios (and their dancers) on board. Although we didn’t have a place, we had a cause: Dance for Kindness, dancers and team of volunteers that helped us organize everything. We knew we could be the biggest flashmob ever done in South America. We reached to the owner of Costanera Center (biggest shopping center in Latin America, we didn’t know him at all) and set up a meeting with the CEO of the mall. Although it was a hard meeting, things went well, and finally, we had a place!! The Facebook event and the sign up forms exploded in a couple of weeks. We set up training sessions so everybody could learn the choreography and what to do the day of the event.
A movement of just three people became a movement of over two thousand people that wanted a kinder Chile. The event was a huge success, famous Chilean dancers and choreographers joined, all the big national Chilean news covered the event and we were able to put the message out, being the voice of many people who believed that with a little more kindness we can make a difference. 15 other countries and 31 cities joined as well to the worldwide event.
That was just the start of Inspira Chile. Since then we have facilitated over 150 workshops in northern and central Chile, four other massive urban interventions (two mobs, two mp3 challenges), and two national online campaigns through viral social network videos. In total more than 5.000 people have in some way been touched by Inspira Chile.
We believe that real leaders are leaders that can genuinely connect to others, their causes and put love in the center of everything they do.
Inspira Chile Foundation